Multiple Multistate Outbreaks of Human Salmonella Infections Linked to Live Poultry in Backyard Flocks

Washington, DC - Salmonella infections don’t just come from contaminated food they can come from contact with animals, too. Many Salmonella infections occur in people who have contact with certain types of animals. In 2012 there were two records involving outbreaks of human Salmonella infections linked to live poultry:

  1. Eight outbreaks were reported which was more than any year in history and these outbreaks resulted in more than 450 illnesses –and-
  2. The largest outbreak of human Salmonella infections linked to backyard flocks in a single year occurred.

Chicks, ducklings, and other poultry can carry Salmonella. Live poultry may have Salmonella germs in their droppings and on their bodies (feathers, feet, and beaks) even when they appear healthy and clean.

While it usually doesn't make the birds sick, Salmonella can cause serious illness when it is passed to people. Salmonella germs can cause a diarrheal illness in people that can be mild, severe, or even life threatening. Infants, seniors, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness. These simple steps will help protect yourself and others from getting sick:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.
  • Clean any equipment or materials associated with raising or caring for live poultry outside the house, such as cages or feed or water containers.
  • Never bring live poultry inside the house, in bathrooms, or especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens, or outdoor patios.

Learn more about the risk of human Salmonella Infections from live poultry here.

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